When and why did you begin writing?
I've been writing since I was a young kid. I've kept diaries and journals since I could remember. My mom used to buy me the ones with the little lock on them...and then she'd break into them and read them. What was the point of the lock? I don't know.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
What inspired you to write your first book?
Are experiences in your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
What books have most influenced your life most?
With Worst Impressions you took on the YA world and Pride and Prejudice. What led you to combine YA with a literary classic?
What book are you reading now?
I just finished a book called One Thing She Knew by Toni Meyer which was fabulous, definitely a page-turner. I want to finish up Two Tears in a Bucket by Traci Bee which is more of an urban drama--a page-turner as well. I'm looking forward to Bollywood Confidential and The Sari Shop Widow. I've been hooked on the Indian culture and food since Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice. And I have a bunch of books I've promised reviews on that I have to add to that list. Too many to name them all.
What are your current projects?
In addition, I have two big projects that I'm working on now and hope to have both finished by the end of the year. The first one is a young adult novel called Soul of the Band, which features a music-loving African-American teen girl from DC who, after a family crisis, moves to a small town in Ohio and becomes the only black girl in an all white band. This book really stands apart from your typical books of this type because I explore the racial issue with a very truthful but humorous character.
The second project is the first in a series of adult novels featuring an AA female FBI agent named J.J. McCall who catches spies. I liken her to a black "Salt"/Jackie Brown working for the FBI instead of the CIA. I love this storyline because it features a very strong female character in a spy romantic comedy/suspense novel. In my former life, I worked with women like J.J. and always wondered why no one was telling their stories. So, I'm going to do it. I haven't read anything like that, and I'd really like to. I hope readers agree with me.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a single thing. I think one of the beautiful things about self publishing this novel first before it found a publisher is that I got to tell this story EXACTLY the way I wanted to tell it...and readers love it anyway. :)
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I learned to grow some thick skin and how to accept criticism. I really had to get over myself and "my art" and do the right thing for the story so that my audience would get the kind of quality they deserved. At a certain point, you have to distance yourself from your work so that you can make it better. And you have to learn to take the useful information from criticism and ignore what you don't need. A very important lesson for new writers.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, get over yourself, grow some thick skin, and learn to accept criticism! (hehe)
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you haven't picked up a copy of The Bum Magnet, it's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Booksamillion, Target and Walmart. Get a copy for you and a friend or two (because you know they need to read it. lol)